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TOPIC:   How early do you sign up for your HMs? 


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LADYRINO
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12/3/13 2:16 P

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Thanks Pastafarian! I will check those out and see what fits the race calendar - that is awesome!!

"When I first started running, I was so embarrassed, I'd walk when cars passed me. I'd pretend I was looking at the flowers."
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PASTAFARIAN
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12/2/13 3:29 P

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I still haven't finished all the columns but I can at least show the prices for DC-area HMs. (And yes, these are all HMs despite some of the names that suggest otherwise.) To reflect popular demand, these are all the *early* prices. I have left off fees for registration services (such as Active and imAthlete, generally 5% to 10%) as well as unusual discounts (e.g., student discount). Those will appear separately in the final spreadsheet.

$5 DC - Gar Williams
$10 MD - Bachman Valley
$20 MD - Riley's Rumble
$25 DC - Half and Half
$30 DE - Dover AFB
$35 MD - LEAD Strong
$40 MD - Dorchester YMCA Crab Run
$40 VA - Heritage
$45 VA - VHTRC Women's
$45 WV - Freedom's Run
$45 MD - Western Maryland Women's
$50 VA - Alexandria Running Festival
$50 WV - Harpers Ferry
$55 MD - Parks
$60 MD - B&A Trail
$60 DC - Abebe Bikila Day International Peace
$60 VA - EX2 Off-Road
$60 VA - Fountainhead Off-Road
$60 DE - Rehoboth Beach
$60 MD - Potomac River Run (Fall)
$65 MD - Potomac River Run (Spring)
$65 MD - Ocean City
$65 MD - St Michaels
$65 MD - Frederick
$65 VA - North Face Endurance Challenge
$75 MD - Maryland
$75 MD - TCS Annapolis
$80 MD - Chestertown
$80 MD - Baltimore
$85 VA - Runners Marathon of Reston
$85 MD - Woodrow Wilson Bridge
$90 MD - Iron Girl Columbia
$90 DC - Rock'n'Roll USA
$105 MD - ZOOMA Annapolis Women's
$105 VA - Virginia Wine Country
$175 DC - Nike Women's

As I've said before, price is only one metric by which you might want to choose a race but in my experience, there is an inverse correlation between price and enjoyment - in part because the expensive HMs are mostly commercial ventures trying to maximize their return at your expense. Reread my previous post on this topic for details:

www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_
individual.asp?blog_id=4733846


Note: I am missing the fee for one race: Marine Corps Historic Half because their website shows neither this past year's price nor next year's price. It's supposed to open in Feb so I'll get the figures then.

Edited by: PASTAFARIAN at: 12/6/2013 (11:48)

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CHANGINGHORSES
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11/23/13 5:49 A

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UGH! All we wanna do is run for Pete's sake! That Nike registration sounds like a PIA!
I hate all the extra steps in some races and really appreciate my small town races.

Live your life as though you are obligated to make the world a better place. Make a difference today.


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PASTAFARIAN
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11/22/13 6:57 P

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I'm trying to figure out how to list mandatory fees in the HM-pricing spreadsheet. Many of the races use services such as Active or imAthlete which have sliding scales for their fees. I'd like to have columns showing early price, last price, the fees for each, and their totals. But that's 6 columns plus it forces me to go through the registration process for all these races in order to see what the numbers actually come to.

Having gone through several of them, I am astounded that people go along with how intrusive some of these race registrations have become. I just finished fake-registering for the Nike Women's HM and, among many other questions, it insisted I give my income and ethnicity - and there is no option to decline. Wow.

Anyway, I suspect most people only care about the two totals (early price + fee, late price + fee) but even that's questionable since the registration companies sell memberships that let people avoid the fees, you can also avoid some of the fees by mailing your registration, etc, etc. (As an aside, more and more races are charging for mail-in registrations - the only question is whether they charge less or more than the online registration services!)

There are a couple of other permutations and it's just getting too messy to show all the prices so now I'm thinking of just having four price-related columns:

Early price
Late price
Mandatory Fees
Discounts

For discounts, I'm just going to list the simple ones such as "$10 off for military" or "$25 for students". I'll put the things like Active.com discounts under Fees.

For fees, I'll just give a absolute $ amount (if it exists) or say "Active.com" (for example) and let the reader do the computation to accommodate people who have or don't have such accounts. Alas, this is pretty tricky as some of the registration services (e.g., imAthlete) hide their formula.

The drawback of this is it obscures how some of these registration fees are quite high. (For example, the $175 Nike Women's HM has a mandatory fee of $7.63. Of course, this is hidden until the very last page of the registration - when you've gone through 15 minutes of questions (and yes we really insist you create a nike account and yes the password needs upper and lowercase and numbers and must be longer and ...) so by then you're committed to finishing the registration come hell or high water.)

Ack, my head hurts.


Edited by: PASTAFARIAN at: 11/22/2013 (19:42)

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CHANGINGHORSES
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11/20/13 8:53 P

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Generally speaking the races that I sign up for are rather low cost and I don't worry about "if I miss it". I have been running for 4 years now and have only missed one race that I signed up for and did not go due to sickness and distance. If it was closer, I would have went anyway and walked it just to get it done.

If I was in a high dollar area maybe I would do things differently. I don't know. My average cost for a race is $15-20 for 5 and 10k. $45-55 for half's.

Live your life as though you are obligated to make the world a better place. Make a difference today.


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STRIVERONE
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11/20/13 4:49 P

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PASTAFARIAN,
Thank you for the work you are doing on this. I'm sure it will be very useful to many of us.


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PASTAFARIAN
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11/20/13 4:44 P

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Thanks for the feedback! Overwhelming support was expressed for signing up as early as possible. So I'm going to add a column to the spreadsheet for the early-bird price and the # of days you must register before the race to get that price. I've already got one listed as 8 months early!

I am still shocked at the preference for early-as-possible registration. With expensive races ($85 and up), you're typically looking at a 5 month period during which you better not get injured, training goes well, work conflict doesn't arise, etc.

Mathematically, it's a no-brainer to skip the early fees. The savings from missing (and not having to pay for) just one such race a year more than makes up for the extra $ you'd have to pay for late registration fees for 4-6 other races each year!

I understand some people schedule their vacations around races but I think that's even riskier and never do that. The only exception I would ever make is for a few problematic races that sell out before the early registration period ends. PS: For those, I'll list the sell-out date instead of the early-reg-end-date since it's pointless to show dates that you can't actually use. Similarly for "secret" early deadlines (i.e., early registrations that are never advertised).



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CKTALL
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11/10/13 1:10 P

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as soon as possible just to make the committment

A failure is only a failure if you don't get up and try again...author unknown


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FITFOODIE806
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11/4/13 9:14 P

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I register early as possible to get the lowest cost. I meet with my running group and we plan out our racing seasons together. We don't all do the same races, but it gives people an idea. And I'm cheap so I always take the early bird pricing!


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LADYRINO
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11/4/13 12:23 P

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Since I tend to travel for my HMs - I tend to sign up quite early. It is nice to get the discount on the race price - but usually I am worried about the airline prices and book early there too. I usually find a race and then look at the airline prices and if I have a winning combo sign up for both at the same time....would hate to have a race and no way to get there or vice versa.

"When I first started running, I was so embarrassed, I'd walk when cars passed me. I'd pretend I was looking at the flowers."
Joan Benoit Samuelson
Olympic Marathon Winner


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CHANGINGHORSES
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11/4/13 6:59 A

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I've only done one but I like to sign up for races early enough for the discounts. Must make the decision very soon about an upcoming April half for discount. Sounds like a fun one, but I am not sure how training over the winter months would go.


Live your life as though you are obligated to make the world a better place. Make a difference today.


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THE_SHAKESHAFT
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11/3/13 5:07 A

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I usually sign up as see as I see something advertised. I like to be able to keep my calendar in order :)

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TIMOTHYNOHE
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11/1/13 11:05 P

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Since I enjoy traveling to run, catching 50 States, I like to live dangerously and sign up months in advance. In most races with a sliding rate structure ... big corporate races mostly, but small to medium community races also do this ... the race cost is usually lower for early sign up.

Of course the cost of the race is not the long pole in the tent for travel races. Airfare, hotel, car, and food actually drive the cost much more.

Getting the best rates on these sometimes requires time to plan. Airfare may be cheaper earlier, but hotels tend to go down in price the closer to the date. Car and food are pretty static.

For local races, I usually do those close to the date of the race. Injury, weather, other things come up, etc. Big ones like Frederick Running Festival, Baltimore Running Festival, Marayland Half Marathon, those I sign up early for.

So. I think early bird would be a good way, but indicate it's an early bird rate and give the web site link.

Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you will be doing the impossible -- St Francis of Assisi

Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon, Dublin, Ireland, 8/5/2013
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YARDWALKER
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11/1/13 8:13 P

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I registered in October for a race in March to get the special discounted pricing, it can be cancelled if need be.


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SKIRNIR
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11/1/13 8:07 P

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Maybe this will change for me, but I registered for my second half marathon about 2 days ago and it is December 1st. For me, it is about convincing myself I can do it in the time alloted and feeling somewhat ready before I sign up. As I get more used to doing half marathons this may change though, especially if I start deciding to travel for a half marathon.

The one I signed up for starts out at $40 early registration which ended about 4 months before the race, then $50 now and if you wait until mid November then $55. Not a huge difference.

Edited by: SKIRNIR at: 11/1/2013 (20:10)
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KAPELAKIN
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11/1/13 6:53 P

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I usually register 1-2 months out. That's close enough to the race that I feel pretty sure I can finish the training and not have an injury or something else happen, but far enough out that I can hone my training for the race once I know I'm in it. Being actually registered helps with the commitment to training, at least for me.

For the HM I'm running tomorrow, regular registration was $45 up until Oct. 9, and from there it goes up to I think $85 by race day. I just flat wouldn't pay that much to run it. $45 is about as much as I'm willing to pay for a HM period.

Voluntary Discomfort is the secret cornerstone of strength. We build our whole lives around increasing comfort and avoiding discomfort, and yet by doing so we are drinking a can of Weakness Tonic with every morning’s breakfast. ~Mr. Money Mustache
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STRIVERONE
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11/1/13 6:06 P

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There are four half marathons and two full marathons that I know I want to do every year for as long as I can. These, I would want to register for as early as possible in order to get the lowest price and to have a framework within which to schedule my other efforts.


You don't need to beat anyone else to be a winner.























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PASTAFARIAN
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11/1/13 4:44 P

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I'm working on an update of my annual HM Prices survey. Here's the one from last year:

www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_
individual.asp?blog_id=4733846


One problem I've wrestled with is whether to compare regular prices or early-bird prices. For instance, I just received an email from a race I did last year. The email says registration is open but when I went to register, it turns out the early-bird period had already passed. How was I supposed to take advantage of the early bird price when I didn't even know about it?

Some races have the opposite problem: If you don't register very quickly, they fill up. The regular price is misleading because no one ever pays it.

And even for less popular races, "regular" prices aren't comparable either. Some HMs have "regular" prices that end four months pre-race while some end 1 week pre-race! And yet others have a sliding scale with 4 or 5 different prices as the races draws closer.

How best to indicate all this complexity?

Or should I just declare that I'm going to do an apples-to-apples comparison and pick a date (say, 3 months pre-race) as the price to use? Initially, I thought that would be good enough since 3 months is about as early as I bother to register but I know people who register for races as soon as they open. Some people make serious travel plans around their races.

This verges somewhat into the quandry of whether to register early/late so I thought I'd make a list to see if there's an obvious reason to lean one way or the other. Here's my first cut:

Reasons for registering early:
- Lowest rate
- Guarantee of getting in.
- Helps some people get motivated to train.
- Some races only guarantee shirts/sizes to earlier registrants.
- More time to convince other friends to join in.

Reasons for registering late:
- Flexibility to choose different activities/races later.
- No risk (or guilt) of making an injury worse if already mildly injured
- No loss of money if:
--- haven't trained
--- injured
--- weather doesn't suit you
- You can see which races your friends have registered for.

Yes, not all of these apply to all races or all people. I'm not trying to make explain hard rules. But I do get the feeling that for most people here, early registration helps with motivation. Personally, I'm on the other side - I'd rather pay more for the flexibility. (Or stick to races that have low-cost late registration.)

So what's the best way to show this? Spreadsheet with prices that are 1 week out, 1 month out, 3 months, 6 months? Does everyone fall into one of this camps? Or would you prefer a different period?



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